When we first saw Hepcat on their very first national tour in July of 1994 we knew we were hearing and seeing something very unique and exciting. Hepcat is not simply a “ska band”, because they combine all forms of not only Jamaican music (ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub) but also American soul and even jazz, into a sound that is distinctively Hepcat. With three albums under their belt and also with tours around the world, it is clear that Hepcat is on the top of the music scene, and most definitely they are there to stay.
Hepcat was formed in late 1989/early 1990 in Los Angeles, California by vocalist Greg Lee and keyboardist/vocalist Deston Berry. Over the years, Hepcat has had several band member changes, but the Hepcat of today is comprised of nine members; Greg Lee, Deston Berry, vocalist Alex Desert, bassist Dave Fuentes, tenor saxophonist Efren Santana, trumpeter Kincaid Smith, guitarist Aaron Owens, and drummer Scott Abels. Each member is also fully capable of taking on songwriting duties, as well as leading the band in a solo.
Hepcat released its first album in 1993 entitled “Out Of Nowhere” on Moon Records, which showed the world that Hepcat was a powerful force in the music industry. They didn’t release their second album until 1996, entitled “Scientific” on the BYO Records label, which reinforced their tremendous talents. Hepcat’s newest album, “Right On Time”, released in late 1997/early 1998 on the Hellcat Records label, may be their best album yet! During their careers, Hepcat has opened for such legendary acts as Desmond Dekker, The Wailers Band, The Specials, and Ben Harper, among many others. Their two videos, “Bobby & Joe” and “No Worries” have both aired on such stations as MTV, and Hepcat has even made a live performance on the Conan O’Brien show.
With one listen to Hepcat’s music, you will witness the band’s incredible talents, whether it be outstanding instrument playing, as well as outstanding vocal harmonies and leads. Even though their albums are hard, if not impossible, to top, they manage to do so with their energetic live shows, where the bandmembers are sharply dressed and out-doing their last performance with each new show. Their live shows simply reinforce even more that Hepcat is one of the most talented and tightest bands in history. – Daniel & Seth Nelson